Volunteer Spotlight: Maria Gardner

Maria Gardner has always had a green thumb, so she was right at home when she volunteered on the September 11th National Day of Service.

UWDOR Loaned Executives participated in this nationwide project by lending their muscle to Elant at Fishkill, a senior residence, where they spruced the place up by planting mums in preparation for Grandparents Day, which took place on Sunday, September 13th. Loaned Executives serve as key campaign fundraisers for United Way and lead the community to its full potential.

Maria was one such person in attendance. She got involved with United Way through her employer, Central Hudson, and loves volunteering!

It is people like Maria who make special events like the September 11th National Day of Service a success with their attitude towards and passion for volunteering. “Gardening is right up my alley,” Maria exclaimed. “I really enjoyed myself today!”

It probably helped that her hero growing up, her grandmother, also liked to spend time in the garden. “She taught me to garden. She planted all of my gardens and when she moved out, it was up to me to maintain what she started.”

Maria is so enthusiastic about gardening because it keeps the memory of her grandmother alive. “It’s part of her legacy and it’s just so therapeutic,” she said.

Maria’s service record also includes a previous stint as a volunteer for an animal shelter in Newburgh, where she fed and walked the animals, did laundry, and cleaned cages. “It was exhausting work, but I love making sure the animals get the attention they deserve.”

Maria still intends to expand her volunteering repertoire even further. She has already proven to be a valuable member of the Loaned Executive team, and is eager to be a part of future projects.

To learn more about the Loaned Executive program, contact Liz Manning at emanning@uwdor.org.

To get involved in your community today, go to volunteer.uwdor.org.

—Melissa Clark, Manager of Community Mobilization